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Into the charm of Oracle Webcenter and ADF
This post is collection of different of business opinions of developers and business consultants in addition to mine; a result of different reading and previous experience.
Oracle WebCenter Framework is an Oracle JDeveloper design-time extension that breaks down the boundaries between Web-based portals and enterprise applications. It also provides the runtime portal and Web 2.0 framework on which all Oracle WebCenter technology runs.
Oracle WebCenter Portal delivers intuitive user experiences for enterprise applications. This complete, open and integrated enterprise portal and composite applications solution enables the development and deployment of internal and external portals and websites, composite applications and mashups with integrated social and collaboration services and enterprise content management capabilities
Oracle WebCenter Spaces is a ready-to-use application that pulls together the capabilities of all the WebCenter Services to empower teams to quickly and efficiently manage their information, applications, projects, and people without requiring IT assistance. It brings together the latest technology around social computing, communities, personal productivity, and ad-hoc team interactions with no development effort. Oracle WebCenter Spaces allows users to work more effectively with project teams and work groups, including teams that span multiple geographies and include external members. It eliminates or reduces duplication of efforts and content inconsistencies, and it enables sharing valuable team resources to solve business problems, tap into new ideas, and reduce time to market.
Now we have to evaluate the pros and cons of webcenter portal vs. webcenter spaces
The difference between Spaces and a custom WebCenter App is not only related to the use of all the Enterprise 2.0 services.
There are some general guidelines that you can follow that can make your choice easier.
• If you require lots of customizations and flexibility than a webCenter app is the way to go.
• If you require features that are specific to spaces like personal pages or events than you also require Spaces. Especially the personal pages part. If this is one of the requirements than you will have a hard time developing this in a custom webcenter app.
• When you require different group spaces, you will also go for WebCenter spaces because such a concept is very hard to build for yourself.
Spaces are more an ootb environment that doesn’t require lots of development. If you have lots of requirements that require custom development than a custom webcenter app is needed.
One of the questions is: What is a lot of development?
If you need the functionality that Spaces offers, you can extend it with your own task flows, templates etc.
In this case, you use Spaces as ‘framework’ to expose your task flows.
On the other hand, if you have tight navigation and more business logic between task flows, you might want to expose Web Center services in your application.
Design in spaces and portal
For the CSS design (and skinning in general) with WebCenter will be different than doing design with Oracle Portal. My thoughts on the divide:
1) If your need is something that is more ‘social and collaborative’, then Spaces may be the best place to start.
2) If your need is more informational in a traditional portal sense with custom designs, etc. – then a WebCenter Portal (custom) app might be the better place to start.
The advantages of spaces over portal.
• Application will connect to LDAP repository (AD/OID) for authentication and authorization. Weblogic will do this for you.
• A Home Page / Landing Page. You need to customize here. Most of the effort goes here.
• Users will have Access to Group Spaces, Role Based access. OOTB
• Group Spaces may have different services like documents, Announcement/Discussions. OOTB feature.
• Ability to create pages by selecting your custom page templates during run time, in context editing, skinning. OOTB + Customization.
• Ability to enable / disable services, etc . OOTB.
However, if you need full control of your code then ADF Portal will be better . The above feature is bit difficult in Portal but possible and may need more man power.
Starting from 12c ; there will be no webcenter portal framework . there will be webcenter portal only (builder or spaces).